by Guest Contributor Kate Richards
Hey, I’m Kate; a big believer in everyone can make a difference without going the whole hog: I’m vegetarian and use sustainable period care, but I still drive a car. It’s all about balance and what works for each individual, so if you’ve been thinking about alternatives to disposable pads and tampons- here’s your sign to give them a try!
First, let’s look at the facts. Each year, 2 billion period products get flushed down the toilet, causing major blockages to sewers and costing the UK government £14 billion a year. One year’s supply of disposable period products creates a carbon footprint the equivalent of 5.3kg CO2. Pads are around 90% plastic, and will hang around in landfill longer than the user of the product will live- and any of their offspring. That’s a long time for something that is in use for a few hours to last.
On the more positive side- there are so many options for period care that are better for both the planet and your pussy. From a personal perspective- I preach about my menstrual cup. It’s so comfortable, you can get one for around £15 and they last at least a couple of years if you look after it. Brands such as Organicup and Mooncup are made from surgical silicone so they’re hygienic, too.
Another bonus to silicone is that it’s made from silica- a type of sand. So, it degrades to its natural state and isn’t hazardous to the planet. This being because it is the second most abundant mineral on Earth. When I’m wearing mine, I don’t have that uncomfortable awareness that I did with tampons. Best part is- you can use them for up to twelve hours! I realise for those of you with a heavier flow that might not work but you can just empty it as often as needed; with plenty of support online with personal experiences and tips on insertion, washing, etc.
One year’s supply of disposable period products creates a carbon footprint the equivalent of 5.3kg CO2.
My housemate swears by reusable pads- they see her through all stages of her period and they’re comfortable too. The “average” vulva haver uses around 17,000 in their lifetime. Just think of that in the context of waste and money and how much you could save! They also come in nice prints which is a bonus! The cloth usually being cotton or bamboo fibre. Which is much better for your cooter than the chemically infused supermarket shelf offerings.
Other options include period pants and they seem to be a slow starter. With many menstruators choosing one of the options above instead. It’d be interesting to hear from someone who uses them, though to see how they compare.
If you feel like you really can’t live without tampons- consider investing in a reusable applicator to cut down your plastic waste and purchase tampons without an applicator instead. There are also options for tampons with water degradable packaging (Daye).
Hopefully that is some insight and food for thought on some period care alternatives that the planet, your vagina and your purse will thank you for!